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Veteran BJD MLA Pradeep Maharathy passes away

Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leaders and supporters pay tribute to party MLA Pradeep Maharathy, who passed away, during his funeral procession, in Bhubaneswar.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Former Odisha Minister and veteran Biju Janata Dal MLA Pradeep Maharathy passed away on Sunday, weeks after he tested positive for COVID-19. He was 66.

He was undergoing treatment in a city-based private hospital and his health condition deteriorated in the past few days. He is survived by wife, son and daughter.

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Born in Khorapada village in Puri district in 1955, he rose through the ranks from students politics. He was elected to the Assembly from the Pipili constituency consecutively seven times from 1985 till last Assembly elections in 2019.

Before joining the ruling Biju Janata Dal in 2000, he was in Janata Dal and a staunch follower of former Chief Minister Biju Patnaik.

He was Agriculture Minister from 2011-2012 and was made Minister again between 2014 and 2017. He returned to hold portfolios such as Agriculture and Farmers Empowerment, Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water and Fisheries and Animal Resources Development from 2017 to 2019.

Mr. Maharathy remained a controversial figure in the State politics for his alleged criminal background. He had more than two dozens cases against him, including attempt to murder, molestation, rioting, theft, criminal intimidation and dacoity. He owned a commercial theatre group.

“The sad demise of the Maharathy is an irreparable loss to the State and the members of their family,” said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in the Assembly on Sunday.

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Hundreds of his followers participated in the funeral procession and he was cremated with State honours. Political leaders across party lines mourned the death.

In the 147-member House, 47 MLAs including Ministers were found infected with the virus. While many have already recovered, some are in home quarantine.

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Printable version | Dec 4, 2020 11:36:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/veteran-bjd-mla-pradeep-maharathy-passes-away/article32765718.ece

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